Governor Mike DeWine today confirmed Ohio schools will remain closed until May 1 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
That extends the school-shutdown order another three weeks, when DeWine says it will be evaluated again:
"We want to take this one chunk at a time because we don't know exactly where we are going to be," DeWine said. "But it's clear that we're not going to be back in the classroom before May 1. So we want to signal to everybody today that you can plan and continue on the distance education until May 1. Is it possible that it will continue remotely until the end of the school year - yes it's certainly possible. We just don't know yet until we see exactly where we are.”
DeWine added that it's unlikely the state will extend this school year into the summer months:
"I think it's more likely we'll try to get by through this school year with remote learning," DeWine said. "I've had some superintendents who are concerned their students will be further behind. The reason is that not every school has the same ability to do distance learning. So you have families in cities who may not have the ability to do that. In the rural areas, we may have families that can't access that and maybe a whole community that cannot access the internet. So these are things we're going to have to try and figure out as we move forward."
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted says many internet providers are adding service hot spots residents could use. He says the state is compiling a list of those locations and will make it available soon. The latest numbers show more than 1,900 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Ohio, with 39 deaths as of Monday. Officials say nearly 500 people are hospitalized.